After those two, obviously Nintendo would have our backs, right? I mean, there’s no way a company that always focuses on gameplay would fail here, right?
Wrong. If there’s two things Nintendo fails at, it’s 3rd-party support and internet integration (both of which they’re trying their hands at fixing for Wii U, luckily).
And man, does it ever get emphasized when you’re an indie developer.
First off, a common story from developers who try to get their games on the Wii (and they don’t have any special indie thing for any of their systems, so this happens to bigger developers, too):
- Send a game in for the Wii.
- They send the game back a month later, claiming there’s an obscure bug.
- You fix the bug and send it back.
- Repeat steps 1-3.
The game goes up when they fail to find bugs.
I admire their dedication to making sure no buggy games go on their service, but the developers should be trusted at least a little more. a month of waiting per bug is inexcusable, there should be more speed to this, or tell the developers every single bug at once.
And, after you get on their system, the amount of people frequenting the Wii’s shop is rather low, due to Nintendo’s shoddy implementation. Since you have to (or had to?) reach a certain amount of profit before you get anything, one mid-size developer has yet to see a cent from their WiiWare release, despite their game performing well on other systems.
That kills the Wii as a platform. As for the 3DS’s eShop, an NDA prevents much information from leaking, but I’d assume much the same problem is going on there, but with one additional, quite major problem.
As an example take indie hit VVVVVV. Price on Steam? $5. Price on the 3DS? $8. The price went up, and a lot of people see that 50% increase and get scared away.
Why the increase? The tight NDA means the public will never know.
However, at the very least, more people will see your game on the service, with over 5 million downloads from the eShop having taken place, and an average of 4.7 games bought on it per customer. Plus, the presence of full downloadable retail releases means traffic will increase, so the negatives have their upsides.
In addition, in order to get approved as a publisher for any of their systems, even for just a download release, I hear you need a physical office that is not a home office. Yes, this does kill most indie prospects at it.
And yes, the NDA involved here does stop me from going on too long about why they fail, since information is scarce. But the information that has leaked is enough to know they’ve failed. If people go through the full trouble of getting the devkit to not get any significant sales due to the price tag on their games being higher than PC mixed with low traffic for the Wii’s online store means it’s not worth it, and the 3DS store needs to do better at not forcing higher price points.
Now that the three consoles are done, I will cover smartphones and tablets, and why those aren’t any good either.
Table of contents can be found here.